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Ricotta-Stuffed French Toast with Summer Berries, Whipped Cream and Maple Syrup
Ricotta-Stuffed French Toast with Summer Berries, Whipped Cream and Maple Syrup Photo courtesy of Manhattan Beach Post

We’ve never thought French toast needed more than a drizzle of maple syrup to satisfy our morning sweet tooth. But now that we’ve had chef David LeFevre’s version, we know you can take the brunch favorite to a more indulgent level. At his Manhattan Beach restaurant, Manhattan Beach Post, the chef stuffs his French toast with house-made ricotta, then tops it with sweet seasonal fruit, maple syrup and a dollop of whipped cream. His berry-topped summer iteration makes it hard to decide which element is best: the custardy French toast, the delicate fruit topping or the light fluffy filling tucked inside.

Makes 4 servings

½ cup ricotta cheese

Zest from 1 lemon (about
3 teaspoons)

8 slices brioche or challah bread (about ¾-inch thick)

2 cups heavy cream

2 eggs

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground cardamom

4 cups fresh mixed berries

¼ cup sugar

4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter

Whipped cream, for serving

Pure maple syrup, for serving

1. In a small bowl, combine the ricotta with the lemon zest. Spread the ricotta evenly on one side of each bread slice, then close to form four sandwiches.

2. In a small bowl, whisk the cream with the eggs, cinnamon and cardamom. Pour the mixture into a large shallow baking pan and soak the sandwiches for 15 minutes, turning halfway through.

3. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan set over medium heat, combine the berries with the sugar and bring to a simmer. Cook until warmed through and juicy, about 5 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and cover to keep warm.

4. In a large skillet set over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Remove two sandwiches from the baking pan and cook until warmed through and golden brown, about 4 minutes per side. Repeat with the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and sandwiches.

5. Cut the sandwiches in half diagonally and divide among four serving plates. Top with the whipped cream, reserved berries and a drizzle of maple syrup. Serve immediately.

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